Saturday, February 27, 2010

... Back in a Month!
Sydney, Australia = 4 days

New Zealand (Both Islands) = 3 weeks

Hong Kong = 2 days

Friday, February 26, 2010

Rating : 4.5/5
Number of Pages : 228
Series : #10 Fables
Format : Graphic Novel
Reason for Reading : Graphic Novel Challenge 2010, to continue the series

The story mostly follows Flycatcher who becomes The Good Prince. He follows a quest that takes him back into the lands of the Adversary where he ventures to build his own kingdom with the help of a guide and a series of trapped souls. He has magical armour and sword that help him keep the Adversary and his armies at bay. Plus he seems to be able to absorb the magic of others.

Back in Fabletown most of the Fables are watching Flys adventures through the Magic Mirror. There were some small side stories involving Bigby and Snow which I hope is developed in later collections. This was very much Fly's story though all the way through.

This was one of my favourite of the collections so far. Fly really came into his own and although he became a Prince again, he stayed true to who he was and did not get power mad like the true Adversary. He was such a background character previously until 1001 Nights of Snowfall (I recommend you read it before this one) where we learn his back story. I hope he continues to figure in later collections despite no longer living in Fabletown.

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 177
Series : #11 Fables
Format : Graphic Novel
Reason for Reading : Graphic Novel Challenge 2010, to continue the series

The War between Fabletown and the Adverssary beings in earnest. Cinderella has her own mission to bring back a package which turns out to be more complicated than expected. Bigby mans the last remaining beanstalk as an escape route into the Cloud Kingdoms which the adversary must never have access to. Meanwhile Prince Charming and Sinbad have taken to the skies in a super ship to shoot down any dragons or other aerial warriors set against them. The Fables are employing the use of earth technology, guns and bombs specifically, which the Adversary has always forbidden in his lands to stop them being abused and used against him.

Boy Blue finally reveals his true feelings for a fellow Fable, but things do not turn out as planned. He throws all of his efforts in to using the Witching Cloak to travel between the three outposts and make sure no one runs out of supplies of ammunition. Nothing can get through the Witching Cloak, or can it...

The end of the first main plot arc. I plan on taking a break and catching up with the Jack of Fables books before going further with this series. Some great storytellings, I look forward to coming back to the world of the Fables in the future.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Rating : 4.5/5
Number of Pages : 326
Series : #2 Sookie Stackhouse
Format : Urban Fantasy, Vampire Novel
Reason for Reading : Sookie Stackhouse Challenge, to continue the series

Sookie and Vampire Bill are back for another supernatural adventure. Driving through the woods late one night Sookie is attacked and poisoned by a new supernatural creature that may be connected to her co-worker being found dead in Andy Bellefleur's car. Meanwhile Vampire Eric has loaned out Sookie and her special telepathic gift to a nest in Dallas and Bill is going as her bodyguard. When they arrive someone tries to abduct Sookie and they get away before Bill can catch them.

In Dallas the duo find out that one of the Dallas nest has gone missing and Sookie is to question the humans who last saw him. A plot begins to unfold that invovles The Fellowship, a fanatical group against vampires. Sookie also uncovers a traitor in the midst of the Dallas nest as well as getting caught up in an orgy with Eric and a series of humans back in Bon Temps.

This is a great follow up to the first book. I really like Sookie and her matter-of-fact way of thinking. There was some great sexual tension between Sookie and both Sam and Eric for future books to explore. Plus the introduction of another telepath and new ways for Sookie to explore her own gifts in later novels. It ends on a really interesting note about the disadvantages of Sookie ingesting more vampire blood. I can't wait to read book three.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 295
Format : Teenage Fiction, Novel
Reason for Reading : 10 10 10 Challenge

Simon's parents are dead and he is now living with his grandparents. Him and his grandmother discover they have a shared love of books when Simon has to sort though his parents belongings. They spend their Saturdays going to other localy towns and browsing through charity shops, filling their shopping baskets with more books to take home and fill their small house. Out one day they discover The Great Book Exchange. There they can buy second hand books in fantastic condition for very small prices, if they agree to take them back once they have read them to exchange for more books. In the shop they meet Kelly (a young goth girl about Simons age) and Terrence (the owner with two fake plastic arms) who become very important in the lives of Simon and his grandmother Winnie.

Simon's grandfather is not a fan of reading and on more than one attempt gets rid of the books stacked up in the house. He becomes more and more distanced from Winnie and Simon and can't understand them anymore. Winne discovers old books by Ada Jones who was an old friend of hers when she was growing up. The books take her back to her childhood and she wonders at the very different paths their lives took. Winnie stayed local and married whereas Ada went off travelling, having flings and writing. Winnie wonders about what could have been, did she make the right choices in her life. Did Ada?

This wasn't what I expected. I thought it would be a fantasy novel about a magical book exchange, but it turned out to be a very different tale about families, real life and passion for books and reading. It was like a fine wine somehow and I think it's the type of book I will love more and more with more readings of it. I recognised so much of myself in Simon when he gets really into reading and escapes his unhappy life. He always carries a book with him plus a spare just in case he gets stuck somewhere and finishes it. A definite must for anyone who loves books and a good story well told.

Rating : 4.5/5
Number of Pages : 326
Series : #1 Sookie Stackhouse
Format : Urban Fantasy, Vampire Novel
Reason for Reading : Sookie Stackhouse Challenge

Sookie Stackhouse is a waitress in small town Bon Temps in the South of America. She's your average Southern Belle apart from she can read peoples minds. This is not a gift to her, she calls it her disability and finds it very difficult to shut out the thoughts of those around her. Obviosuly this makes dating impossible, who wants to hear the crude or unflattering thoughts of the man you are out with. Another small difference between us and Sookie is that in her reality vampires are "out of the coffin" and are members of society said to have a virus.

Sookie's world changes when a vampire arrives in Bon Temps (vampire Bill). For Sookie he is a breath of fresh air as he is the one being whose mind she can't hear. Of course they start to get close immediately, but their lives do not run smoothly as a series of young girls are being murdered locally that all have connections to vampires. Sookie is drawn into the supernatural world and learns more than she ever wanted to about vampires and other supernatural creatures. When her brother also becomes more and more under scrutiny by the local police, Sookie pitches in trying to clear his name by finding out who the real killer is.

I really loved this book, a great start to the series. It's exactly like the series True Blood, yet somehow completely different. If I was recommending these to anyone I would say read the book before watching series one as it spoilt it a little knowing who the murderer would turn out to be. I am very interested to see what happens next to Sookie, Vampire Bill, Sam and Sookie's brother Jason.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 466
Series : #3 Isolde Trilogy
Format : Arthurian Fiction, Fantasy
Reason for Reading : Arthurian II Challenge, to continue with the series

The third and sadly final book in the Isolde trilogy by Rosalind Miles. Isolde makes a decision to leave her husand Mark to return to Ireland as the Picts are invading. Their new boy King has his sights on Ireland as well as makig Isolde his Queen. Tristan has to make a choice, will he stay with Isolde his Lady or return to King Mark his liege Lord.

Things in Cornwall with King Mark are not going well. He is still being pulled in lots of different directions by his other nephew Andred plus the Priest Dominion. He has thrown off his long term mistress and the Christians are trying to get him to put aside Isolde and search for a new Christian bride so he can make an heir to rule after him. Queen Igraine isn't sure that Mark is still up to the task of ruling, and as he is her vassal King she can remove him and put someone else in his place. Despite their sham of a marriage, Mark still isn't ready to give up Isolde and puts in place new plans to make her his wife in truth, even if he has to force her.

More magic, mythology and romance. I was very interested to see how it would all end. Would it follow the traditional tales that see Tristan and Isolde killed at Mark's hands or would there be a happier resolution to the story. On the one hand I wanted it to stick to the original, but on the other I had a lot of time to get to know and care about the characters and a part of me really wanted them to get to live together openly in happiness. I won't say which path Miles chose, but ultimately I was happy with the ending and hope she writes some new fantasy books soon.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 237
Series : #2 Vampire Diaries
Format : Vampire Fiction, Teenage Fiction
Reason for Reading : LJ Smith Reading Challenge, to continue with the series

Elena, Stefan and Damon are back in their vampire/human triangle. Stefan is missing at the start of the book, injured and possibly dying after his fight with Damon. Elena decides to take on Damon in a bid to find Stefan and drive him away. Bonnie is still having visions and foretells Elena's death connected with a bridge. Something is going on with Meredith's family, but it looks like it won't be revealed until later in the story.

In the meantime Caroline and Tyler have formed an alliance in a bid to bring down both Stefan and Elena. They have plans for the Founders Day celebrations which involve Elena's missing diary. Elena has kept it all hidden from Stefan, but now he is about to be chased out of town it's looking like time to come clean. At least about some of what has been going on...

This book can't really be read without having read The Awakening first as it starts exactly where it leaves off. So much better than the first one. Much more original and I love the battles between Elena and Damon. She is very brave to stand up to him. The secondary characters like Bonnie and Meredith are some of my favourites and I am interested to see the repercussions after the ending which was very dramatic!

Monday, February 01, 2010

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 452
Series : #2 Isolde Trilogy
Format : Arthurian Fiction, Fantasy
Reason for Reading : Arthurian II Challenge, to continue with the series

Tristan and Isolde are back having spent 10 years as secret lovers. Isolde's mother, the Queen of Ireland is dying and Isolde must return to her homeland to take the crown and be Queen of both Ireland and Cornwall. It will not be as easy as anticipated, enemies of Isolde are gathering who think the Mother Rite is passed and it is time for a man and King to rule.

Meanwhile Tristan is ordered back to the court of his uncle and Isolde's husband, King Mark. On the way though he is held against his will by a powerful necromancer woman who wants his bed service. He struggles to remain loyal to his Lady, but more temptation is to follow. A French Princess whose father loved the Irish Queen is named after Isolde. She prefers to be called Blanche and is known by her subjects as The Maiden of White Hands. She has set her sights on Tristan who she feels is the Knight of her Dreams. Tristan will escape one trap and fall straight into another.

A great follow up to the first book in the series. Tristan and Isolde continue to be interesting characters and the new secondary characters like Blanche were a welcome addition. Although she wasn't the most pleasant of characters, I was glad things worked out well for her in the end. Looking forward to the final installment.